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Listen to Lushlife cover Grizzly Bear for Rough Trade’s A Song A Day Keeps The Pain Away initiative

Lushlife
Lushlife at Johnny Brenda’s 2/27/16 | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

Philly rapper Lushlife is the latest to appear on Rough Trade Publishing’s A Song A Day Keeps The Pain Away initiative, a response to the 2017 election where daily music for the first 90 days of 2017 will rally support and raise funds for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

For the project, Lushlife presents a cover of “Foreground,” a song from Grizzly Bear’s acclaimed 2009 album Veckatimest — and though it begins with his signature flow backed by psychedelic boom-bap production, it quickly takes a melodic turn, giving us a listen to a different side of Lushlife main man Raj Haldar: the melodic vocalist. Continue reading →

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Watch Lushlife’s one-take reflection piece for “Totally Mutual Feeling” feat. Khruangbin

Lushlife
Lushlife at Johnny Brenda’s | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

Local rapper/producer Lushlife premiered the video for his collaboration with Khruangbin, “Totally Mutual Feeling,” directed by duo Lamar + Nik. A part of Lushlife’s Idols and Enemies project, we find him spitting his quick-hitting lines inside a mirror-infested room, following the camera through a minimalistic set of reflection. A trippy beat and heavenly vocals from Khruangbin keeps your ears on high alert, as this almost 2-and-a-half minute track flies by way too fast, landing as another solid tune from Philly’s expansive hip-hop scene. Continue reading →

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Hurry, Lushlife and more contribute songs to subscription comp benefiting the SPLC

Hurry | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Hurry | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Rough Trade Publishing, representatives of local acts Hurry and Lushlife, are “fighting against complacency” with a new three-month, song-a-day subscription service on Bandcamp to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. Subscribers will receive previously unreleased tracks from catalog artists in their email each day, along with access to all new material published by the company on the Bandcamp app.

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Lushlife releases Idols and Enemies mixtape to benefit the ACLU

Lushlife
Lushlife at Johnny Brenda’s 2/27/16 | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

Over the weekend, we told you about a cryptic video Lushlife posted on Facebook. Today we have details about what it all means.

The Philly rapper (known offstage as Raj Haldar) just released Idols and Enemies, an interdisciplinary mixtape featuring Killer Mile, Jedediah Prudy, Moor Mother, Sad13, Sut Jhally, Kool AD, Sun Airway, Khruangbin, Billy Woods and Little Strike. Philly musician and DJ (and Key Contributor) John Morrison executive produced the project, which is available as an $8 download, and it supports the ACLU.  Continue reading →

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Digging For Something: Lushlife’s Raj Haldar on sample mixing, musicology and No Dead Languages

Lushlife | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN
Lushlife | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

For the past decade-plus, rapper / producer / DJ Raj Haldar has built up a catalog of music unlike any in of hip-hop. Working under the stage name Lushlife, Haldar has carved out a very particular sonic space in the pop cultural landscape. On full-length projects like Cassette City, Plateau Vision and 2016’s Ritualize, Lushlife has explored the seemingly improbable fusion of the flossy, stream-of-consciousness approach you hear from rap outsiders like Camp Lo and Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah with electronic beats and dense, ornate baroque-pop arrangements reminiscent of Beach Boys’ auteur Brian Wilson.

His latest, No Dead Languages, is a unique detour back into the artist’s musical history. Compiled of recordings made at the turn of the millennium, the EP is a suite of dense, sample-heavy instrumental hip-hop and electronica of the sort that ruled the late 90s / early 2000s.

Speaking from the road in the midst of a tour with underground rap pioneers Blackalicious, we spoke with Haldar about sample / crate-digging culture, his creative process and his formative years spent bent over a drum machine, trying to find a way to fuse the disparate sonic locus points into a whole and natural musical cosmos. We’re also stoked to bring you the premiere of the title track to No Dead Languages, which you can listen to below. Continue reading →

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An Experimental Musical Dreamscape: Listen to Lushlife’s “The League of Frightened Men”

Lushlife | Credit: Megan Matuzak
Lushlife | Photo by Megan Matuzak

Late last week, Philadelphia rapper Lushlife released the intro track to his forthcoming EP No Dead Languages, which will be made available on October 7 via Bandcamp. The song, “The League of Frightened Men,” spans an impressive and immersive eight minutes. The length sounds intimidating, but Lushlife takes listeners on an ambient journey that doesn’t appear to include any of his own vocals.

The song begins with the introduction of archival audio of a man speaking about the anti-anxiety properties of certain drugs that are never explicitly named. The track is carried by speedy percussion played on loop that gives the track a nineties kickback feel, an energy that isn’t an unusual find in Haldar’s music. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bilal at Johnny Brenda’s, Lushlife at Boot and Saddle, Lotus at The Mann Center and more

bilal
Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews

Soul / funk / rock artist and Philadelphia native Bilal headlines a show at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown tonight. In the past, he has worked with big names like Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Kimbra just to name a few. His last solo release was In Another Life, released last year. Opening up for Bilal will be the fellow Philadelphian Ursula Rucker. She is a poet, activist, and recording artist who has been performing for over seventeen years. This show featuring some of Philly’s finest is not to be missed. Tickets and more information about the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out the video for “Money Over Love” below. Continue reading →

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Lushlife and CSLSX share new video for “The Waking World”

Lushlife
Lushlife at Johnny Brenda’s 2/27/16 | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

After selling out their release show at Johnny Brenda’s, South Philly rapper Lushlife and beat makers CSLSX have now shared a video for “The Waking World” (featuring Swedish dream-rock outfit I Break Horses) from the new Ritualize LP. The clip opens with archival footage of a tape player inside of a jail cell before moving through scenes of young men in class, late night city life and quick shots of the outside world.

The ending is a beautiful explosion of flying galaxy lights paired with the airy vocals of I Break Horses, reaching a transcendental high that Lushlife aptly described as “celestial.” Check it out below and revisit Lushlife’s Unlocked feature here.

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